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Old 06-21-2015, 12:24 AM   #16
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I, too, think RHODA's fourth season was one of the best. They surrounded her with some great supporting cast members (Ron Silver, for one) and the 'return of Ida'. It was a nice rebound from the trainwreck which was Season 3 (and the horrible addition of 'Sally').

But by Season 4, many faithful viewers had tuned out for good (not me!) and the show limped along into Season 5. It deserved much better.

I think I liked Rhoda better because the show was more relaxed and fun to watch. MTM on the otherhand was about a fictional news station with a grumpy boss.
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:13 PM   #17
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I think I liked Rhoda better because the show was more relaxed and fun to watch. MTM on the otherhand was about a fictional news station with a grumpy boss.
I get the feeling from many of your comments that you've only seen early episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This show (and characters) changed significantly after the first couple seasons, and Rhoda, although a good sitcom, comes nowhere close to the show that The Mary Tyler Moore Show became. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a rarity in that it only got better and better as it went along. The personalities of some of the characters -- Mary, Lou and Ted -- went through sort of a metamorphosis that served to make the show truly funny in a way that it was not early on. Here are some comments I wrote in another forum that address the evolution of The Mary Tyler Moore Show from basically a "chick" show that was light on laughs to a hilarious and timeless classic that is unparalleled:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was just so-so in S1 and S2 and didn't fully hit its stride until S4, and continued getting better and better after that.

There were a number of changes over time that turned The Mary Tyler Moore Show into a classic. Several of these began to materialize by the third season. Three of these changes involved the characters of Mary, Lou and Ted. Ted ties with Mary as my favorite characters on the show, but in the beginning he was barely seen. In the first season, Ted was basically a one-dimensional side character whose role on the show was just to walk into the newsroom every once in awhile, say something idiotic, then exit. There was no depth to him, so he really wasn't that funny in the beginning. His role got expanded a little in the second season. Then in the third season there were episodes that actually revolved around him. And they brought in Georgette as his girlfriend, which helped to round him out and present him as a real person with a real life. We got to know the humanity of the character, which made him more believable and, thus, funnier.

Another change was Lou Grant. In the first two seasons, pretty much all he did was bark at people when he walked into the newsroom. There was never any warmth. But by the end of the second season, they started giving him opportunities to be a human being with feelings, such as the episode where he catches his son-in-law out at a movie theater with another woman. And by the third season, we started seeing the relationship develop between Lou and Mary as not just boss and employee, but also friends.

Mary also changed, and it seemed to happen overnight with the first episode of the third season. Up to this point, she was always portrayed as sickeningly sweet. She never got angry, barely got frustrated, never questioned her boss. And all that adds up to boring. But in S3, she's suddenly more confident and willing to speak up a little, but in a Mary sort of way. In fact, in the season opener, she tells Ted, on the air, "Shut up, Ted!" Of course, she's mortified the moment she does that. But nevertheless, this is a side of Mary that had never been seen before, and it was hilarious. That was the biggest laugh in the series up to that point. Mary in S3 was also standing up a bit to Lou when she thinks she's not being treated fairly. That's a big departure from before. This new version of Mary Richards was much funnier than the earlier version who was too easygoing.

Another thing, the first season was mostly the Mary and Rhoda show. It was basically just a chick show about Mary and Rhoda's dating life, which got old quickly. Starting in the second season, there was more focus on the folks in the newsroom.

S4 brought in Sue Ann, which was not only a great character in her own right, but she also made Murray a more interesting character. Before Sue Ann, pretty much all Murray was used for was to insult Ted. But those insults weren't laugh-out loud funny because they would go over Ted's head. So there was no reaction. Murray also would dish out insults at Sue Ann, but the difference is Sue Ann would throw it right back in Murray's face, which made their banter back and forth funnier, and made Murray more interesting (rather than the boring character he had been).

S5 was the first season without Rhoda. While I like the Rhoda character, and I love Valerie Harper, I think the show worked better in these later seasons without the Mary/Rhoda emphasis. In fact, it was these final three seasons when the show won consecutive "best comedy series" Emmys. It never won during the four Rhoda years.
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:40 PM   #18
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I get the feeling from many of your comments that you've only seen early episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This show (and characters) changed significantly after the first couple seasons, and Rhoda, although a good sitcom, comes nowhere close to the show that The Mary Tyler Moore Show became. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a rarity in that it only got better and better as it went along. The personalities of some of the characters -- Mary, Lou and Ted -- went through sort of a metamorphosis that served to make the show truly funny in a way that it was not early on. Here are some comments I wrote in another forum that address the evolution of The Mary Tyler Moore Show from basically a "chick" show that was light on laughs to a hilarious and timeless classic that is unparalleled:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was just so-so in S1 and S2 and didn't fully hit its stride until S4, and continued getting better and better after that.

There were a number of changes over time that turned The Mary Tyler Moore Show into a classic. Several of these began to materialize by the third season. Three of these changes involved the characters of Mary, Lou and Ted. Ted ties with Mary as my favorite characters on the show, but in the beginning he was barely seen. In the first season, Ted was basically a one-dimensional side character whose role on the show was just to walk into the newsroom every once in awhile, say something idiotic, then exit. There was no depth to him, so he really wasn't that funny in the beginning. His role got expanded a little in the second season. Then in the third season there were episodes that actually revolved around him. And they brought in Georgette as his girlfriend, which helped to round him out and present him as a real person with a real life. We got to know the humanity of the character, which made him more believable and, thus, funnier.

Another change was Lou Grant. In the first two seasons, pretty much all he did was bark at people when he walked into the newsroom. There was never any warmth. But by the end of the second season, they started giving him opportunities to be a human being with feelings, such as the episode where he catches his son-in-law out at a movie theater with another woman. And by the third season, we started seeing the relationship develop between Lou and Mary as not just boss and employee, but also friends.

Mary also changed, and it seemed to happen overnight with the first episode of the third season. Up to this point, she was always portrayed as sickeningly sweet. She never got angry, barely got frustrated, never questioned her boss. And all that adds up to boring. But in S3, she's suddenly more confident and willing to speak up a little, but in a Mary sort of way. In fact, in the season opener, she tells Ted, on the air, "Shut up, Ted!" Of course, she's mortified the moment she does that. But nevertheless, this is a side of Mary that had never been seen before, and it was hilarious. That was the biggest laugh in the series up to that point. Mary in S3 was also standing up a bit to Lou when she thinks she's not being treated fairly. That's a big departure from before. This new version of Mary Richards was much funnier than the earlier version who was too easygoing.

Another thing, the first season was mostly the Mary and Rhoda show. It was basically just a chick show about Mary and Rhoda's dating life, which got old quickly. Starting in the second season, there was more focus on the folks in the newsroom.

S4 brought in Sue Ann, which was not only a great character in her own right, but she also made Murray a more interesting character. Before Sue Ann, pretty much all Murray was used for was to insult Ted. But those insults weren't laugh-out loud funny because they would go over Ted's head. So there was no reaction. Murray also would dish out insults at Sue Ann, but the difference is Sue Ann would throw it right back in Murray's face, which made their banter back and forth funnier, and made Murray more interesting (rather than the boring character he had been).

S5 was the first season without Rhoda. While I like the Rhoda character, and I love Valerie Harper, I think the show worked better in these later seasons without the Mary/Rhoda emphasis. In fact, it was these final three seasons when the show won consecutive "best comedy series" Emmys. It never won during the four Rhoda years.

Well that may only work for current television but not in syndication when someone is trying to sample the show.
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:46 PM   #19
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I get the feeling from many of your comments that you've only seen early episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. This show (and characters) changed significantly after the first couple seasons, and Rhoda, although a good sitcom, comes nowhere close to the show that The Mary Tyler Moore Show became. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a rarity in that it only got better and better as it went along. The personalities of some of the characters -- Mary, Lou and Ted -- went through sort of a metamorphosis that served to make the show truly funny in a way that it was not early on. Here are some comments I wrote in another forum that address the evolution of The Mary Tyler Moore Show from basically a "chick" show that was light on laughs to a hilarious and timeless classic that is unparalleled:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was just so-so in S1 and S2 and didn't fully hit its stride until S4, and continued getting better and better after that.

There were a number of changes over time that turned The Mary Tyler Moore Show into a classic. Several of these began to materialize by the third season. Three of these changes involved the characters of Mary, Lou and Ted. Ted ties with Mary as my favorite characters on the show, but in the beginning he was barely seen. In the first season, Ted was basically a one-dimensional side character whose role on the show was just to walk into the newsroom every once in awhile, say something idiotic, then exit. There was no depth to him, so he really wasn't that funny in the beginning. His role got expanded a little in the second season. Then in the third season there were episodes that actually revolved around him. And they brought in Georgette as his girlfriend, which helped to round him out and present him as a real person with a real life. We got to know the humanity of the character, which made him more believable and, thus, funnier.

Another change was Lou Grant. In the first two seasons, pretty much all he did was bark at people when he walked into the newsroom. There was never any warmth. But by the end of the second season, they started giving him opportunities to be a human being with feelings, such as the episode where he catches his son-in-law out at a movie theater with another woman. And by the third season, we started seeing the relationship develop between Lou and Mary as not just boss and employee, but also friends.

Mary also changed, and it seemed to happen overnight with the first episode of the third season. Up to this point, she was always portrayed as sickeningly sweet. She never got angry, barely got frustrated, never questioned her boss. And all that adds up to boring. But in S3, she's suddenly more confident and willing to speak up a little, but in a Mary sort of way. In fact, in the season opener, she tells Ted, on the air, "Shut up, Ted!" Of course, she's mortified the moment she does that. But nevertheless, this is a side of Mary that had never been seen before, and it was hilarious. That was the biggest laugh in the series up to that point. Mary in S3 was also standing up a bit to Lou when she thinks she's not being treated fairly. That's a big departure from before. This new version of Mary Richards was much funnier than the earlier version who was too easygoing.

Another thing, the first season was mostly the Mary and Rhoda show. It was basically just a chick show about Mary and Rhoda's dating life, which got old quickly. Starting in the second season, there was more focus on the folks in the newsroom.

S4 brought in Sue Ann, which was not only a great character in her own right, but she also made Murray a more interesting character. Before Sue Ann, pretty much all Murray was used for was to insult Ted. But those insults weren't laugh-out loud funny because they would go over Ted's head. So there was no reaction. Murray also would dish out insults at Sue Ann, but the difference is Sue Ann would throw it right back in Murray's face, which made their banter back and forth funnier, and made Murray more interesting (rather than the boring character he had been).

S5 was the first season without Rhoda. While I like the Rhoda character, and I love Valerie Harper, I think the show worked better in these later seasons without the Mary/Rhoda emphasis. In fact, it was these final three seasons when the show won consecutive "best comedy series" Emmys. It never won during the four Rhoda years.
I agree 100% with your assessment of Mary Tyler Moore. Definitely got better. Yet still I prefer Rhoda. Crazy, I know. But true for me nonetheless.
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:32 PM   #20
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Well that may only work for current television but not in syndication when someone is trying to sample the show.
That's the problem with sampling, especially when all of your sample comes from early on before all the pieces feel into place. Here's something for you to sample for a different perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihLJrcS8lsg


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I agree 100% with your assessment of Mary Tyler Moore. Definitely got better. Yet still I prefer Rhoda. Crazy, I know. But true for me nonetheless.
I've got the DVDs of the entire series, except season one, which I have no interest in owning. But I have been watching very carefully trying to pinpoint when this show turned the corner and became the show that people remember so fondly. I saw those small changes I mentioned that happened in S2, but S3 was the real beginning when we saw the unveiling of a new Mary, Ted and Lou, and the chemistry between the characters really started to develop. Then in S4 the writing became more consistently solid. And, of course, Sue Ann had arrived.
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:10 AM   #21
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I've got the DVDs of the entire series, except season one, which I have no interest in owning. But I have been watching very carefully trying to pinpoint when this show turned the corner and became the show that people remember so fondly. I saw those small changes I mentioned that happened in S2, but S3 was the real beginning when we saw the unveiling of a new Mary, Ted and Lou, and the chemistry between the characters really started to develop. Then in S4 the writing became more consistently solid. And, of course, Sue Ann had arrived.
Well it seems you wisely pointed out that the show just finally started to give depth to the characters. Starting out the characters were a little too predictable. Maybe it was just a case of the writers wisely realizing they couldn't focus on the social lives of Mary and Rhoda and their interaction with Phyllis forever. They knew there were more possibilities with shifting focus to the workplace. They couldn't just leave Mary's co-workers as unimportant sidenotes.

And Rhoda was a hell of a lot more interesting to me on her own show than with Mary.

When you think about it, that's a blueprint for making any show interesting. Any character can be transformed from one-dimensional to three-dimensional; it just takes good writing. And being willing to shift a focus of a show to make it better.
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:21 PM   #22
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Well it seems you wisely pointed out that the show just finally started to give depth to the characters. Starting out the characters were a little too predictable. Maybe it was just a case of the writers wisely realizing they couldn't focus on the social lives of Mary and Rhoda and their interaction with Phyllis forever. They knew there were more possibilities with shifting focus to the workplace. They couldn't just leave Mary's co-workers as unimportant sidenotes.

And Rhoda was a hell of a lot more interesting to me on her own show than with Mary.

When you think about it, that's a blueprint for making any show interesting. Any character can be transformed from one-dimensional to three-dimensional; it just takes good writing. And being willing to shift a focus of a show to make it better.
I agree. I liked Rhoda better on Rhoda, in the early seasons of that show. I will say this, too: I think the first season or two of Rhoda is better than the first two seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But The Mary Tyler Moore Show continued developing and turned into something that's rarely been equaled in the entire history of television.

I have to give the writers a lot of credit. They were in fairly uncharted territory for a sitcom. They really had no blueprint to follow, so there were growing pains trying to figure all that out. But once they did, it was pure gold.
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:16 AM   #23
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I've read comments (not anything here) where people have said "Rhoda" had just so-so writing and was saved by the good acting. Being a fan of "Rhoda" I never noticed any weakness in the scripts. However people almost never put down the writing on "Mary Tyler Moore".

If you think MTM's writing is better than Rhoda's, would you explain why? What makes this show so much better than Rhoda if you see it that way?
Just found this thread, but there is a distinct difference in style between the two shows, it may take me a bit of thought to explain what that is but I'm ready to begin thinking about it.

Rhoda seemed a bit darker, a bit more in keeping with her character's more sarcastic tone, and the MTM ensemble may have had the more dynamic group of performers, thus so many snip offs were possible.
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:17 AM   #24
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I agree. I liked Rhoda better on Rhoda, in the early seasons of that show. I will say this, too: I think the first season or two of Rhoda is better than the first two seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But The Mary Tyler Moore Show continued developing and turned into something that's rarely been equaled in the entire history of television.

I have to give the writers a lot of credit. They were in fairly uncharted territory for a sitcom. They really had no blueprint to follow, so there were growing pains trying to figure all that out. But once they did, it was pure gold.
True, a lot of the early MTM episodes seemed little different than, say, That Girl.
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:23 PM   #25
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The first 3 seasons of Rhoda gained more viewers than MTM which was the last 3 seasons of MTM

74-75

1. Rhoda #6

2. MTM # 11

75-76

1. Rhoda #7

2. MTM #19

76-77

1. Rhoda #32

2. MTM #39



So where was this great writing for MTM between 1974 and 1977? LOL
In all fairness, CBS did change MTM's timeslot early in the 1976-1977 season so that does account for some of the rating drop. CBS had nothing to lose, they went into that last year as a last year. Wasn't the first or last show with a built-in "end date" CBS moved around which resulted in a ratings drop.
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:43 PM   #26
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MTM is one of my favourite shows ever, but I can't get into the last 2 years much.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons is how much MTM aged. One major difference between the first half of MTM and the 2nd half is attractive women. The males (minus Gord) were all average looking, but early Mary, Rhoda and Phyllis were all gorgeous. Rhoda & Phyllis didn't age.

Another reason is there was way too much Ted & Georgette. Georgette was the character out of place on MTM because her character didn't/couldn't stand on her own. All Georgette did was obsess over Ted. She was the only MTM character without her own identity.
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